TOOL — Ænima (review)

TOOL — Ænima album cover Album · 1996 · Alternative Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
"Ænima" is an incredibly heavy, foreboding, dark and innovative effort by well-recieved progressive metal band Tool. Along with their following "Lateralus", 1996's "Ænima" is often considered to be the pinnacle of Tool's career. While I don't like these two albums as much as their latest 2006 effort "10,000 Days", "Ænima" is definetely a powerful release, my second favorite Tool album and definetely one of their heaviest, if not the.

Along with Sabbat's "The Dwelling" and Neurosis' "Through Silver And Blood" it is one of the darkest albums of that year, and one of the highlights. Many people call Tool a "nu metal" band and that shows most on this release (and "Opiate"). However, I personally do not believe Tool are as nu metallish as some people say. Sure, it's agressive, and filters negative emotion, but Tool mainly focus on one very intricate and interesting musical style that the normal listener cannot put their finger on.

Lyrically, this is Tool's best album. No, I take that back. These lyrics are honestly drool-worthy. There is none of the philosiphical pretensiousness that seemed to dominate their other albums. The lyrics here are incredibly varied, ranging from incredibly pissed off, angry verbal attacks ("Hooker With A Penis", "Eulogy", "Aenema"), to obsessive sexual euphoria ("Stinkfist", possibly "Pushit"), to angsty-but-not-in-a-wimpy way rockers ("jimmy", "H."), to still philosiphical but less focused on intelligence tracks ("Forty Six And Two", "Third Eye"). Lyrically, this album is Tool's high point, in my personal opinion.

So, what's the album like, musically? Well, in terms of musicianship and just plain awesomeness, it is my second favorite Tool album. Believe me, this CD has a VERY dark atmosphere surrounding it. It's Tool's most foreboding album yet. While not as overwhelming as New York doomsters Khanate or fellow prog metallers Opeth, it still carries a frightening, dense and yet fragile atmosphere, making it incredibly unique, especially among 90's albums. Putting aside the many (quite annoying, I might add) fillers included in this album, all of these songs are incredibly heavy, yet light as a feather. It sounds like a recording of the heaviest falling leaf...and I mean that in the most complimentary way possible.

Now that I mentioned the fillers, I suppose I should expand on them. They are...pointless to say the least, and take away from the real songs on the album. A few are enjoyable ("Die Eier Von Satan", "Intermission") but they do nothing to the album. This CD has the most fillers out of any Tool CD (six of them) and, with the exception of "Intermission", none of these fillers segue into any of the full-length songs. These fillers are probably the only thing that really dissapointed me about the album.

All the "real" songs, however, are incredible. Perhaps my second favorite tune on this album is "Hooker With A Penis", only second to the massive, nearly 14 minute "Third Eye". The former song is the heaviest and most agressive on the album, with hilariously pissed off lyrics which shows the band's hypocritical humor. Kickass stuff right there. "Third Eye" is a sprawling nearly 14 minute epic, which twists and turns multiple times before developing into a climax which is so tectonically massive that you just have to hear it to belive it.

So, would I reccommend this album? Oh yes I would, but if you wanna start with Tool, get their masterpiece "10,000 Days" first, then buy "Ænima", then go from there. Tool as a whole are an amazing band, and their discography is loaded with good music. Get all their CD's if you're a fan of this type of stuff!!!
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